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Thread: What is socialism? (your opinion, not the dictionary definition)

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    Default Re: What is socialism? (your opinion, not the dictionary definition)

    The most basic form of govt is a protection racket: mandatory taxation for mandatory protection. As time goes on the taxation will increase as well as the protection, until the govt owns everything and everyone, and humans are its protected possessions. That is totalitarian socialism. So it's a sliding scale from minimum to maximum government, and every growth in govt is more socialistic than the previous -- one man's ceiling is another man's floor.

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    Default Re: What is socialism? (your opinion, not the dictionary definition)

    My understanding of socialism has evolved over the years. It’s definitely a heavily tainted concept. Groups like the Fabian Society were involved in repackaging socialism as Marxism to give the notion a bad rep in the public mind.

    Before the Fabian Society and the Marxists got involved, in the early 19th century, Socialism was a catch all term for almost any proposal for radically reforming or abolishing the money power. It wasn’t about state power, it was a battle with parasitism, which was identified as usury...”the fact that one class of men are dependent for their living on the sale of their labour, while another class are of men are relieved of the necessity of labour by being legally privileged to sell something that is not labour” - Benjamin Tucker, 19th century sociologist. 19th century socialism wanted to abolish usury, and return to early medieval Christian values where usury was illegal.

    I find Dennis’s definition of socialism to be too vague, and actually gives more power to the parasites than it does to keep them in check.

    Quote Posted by Dennis Leahy (here)
    That's my answer to the question, 'what is socialism?': Socialism is working toward the group.
    By that definition, Trump, the Republithugs, the Demonrats and all the crony capitalists that infest politics could define themselves as Socialists, because everything they do is for their inner elite group of crony friends.

    Synonyms of group: category, class, classification, grouping, set, lot, batch, bracket, type, sort, kind, variety, family, species, genus, breed, style

    Working solely towards a preferred in-group is the fast track to class wars and mobocracies. Surely a more wholesome definition of socialism would be ‘working towards the health, wealth and happiness of society as a whole’, which doesn’t just cater to the likeminded in-groups, but also finds the common ground and shared values between multiple and diverse groups of people, so that all groups can flourish.

    This is one reason Jesus would be a shining example of a true socialist, having founded a genuine socialist movement, someone who looks out for the well-being and welfare of everyone in society. Christianity in its untainted form is socialist. It promotes values of charity, generosity, kindness, compassion and love for your fellow humans. All for one and one for all. Not that socialism is exclusive to Christianity, it’s also present in Buddhism or Daoism, the Sanskrit concept of Punya I.e. ‘cultivating merit’, doing good deeds to ease the suffering of people in society around you.

    What most modern day socialists seem to miss though is that the best socialists, are actually excellent capitalists as well. Christianity and Buddhism both have a strong and disciplined work ethic. You have to really get your own house in order before you’re qualified to get out into society and start helping others. You need to have a stable foundation from which you can offer your support to others if you expect them to make a stand for themselves. Without that strong foundation, everything collapses.

    Capitalism tainted by the money power becomes imperialism or mercentilism, neither have anything to do with true capitalism, which is the creation of value through your own merit and creative works to capitalise on your productive capabilities. Imperialism and mercantilism is all about stealing the productive wealth of others and selling it on for profit.

    Just as Socialism tainted by the money power becomes communism, the stealing of wealth from the productive members of society to redistribute that wealth among your preferred group of Oligarchs for the centralisation of control and power.

    Capitalism and Socialism then are both fighting the same enemy, the parasitic Oligarchs who steal other peoples productive wealth for their own profit.
    Last edited by Jayke; 10th February 2019 at 14:11.

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    Default Re: What is socialism? (your opinion, not the dictionary definition)

    I wonder what Machiavelli would say if he was posting in this thread, if he could type through his laughter.

    Central organisation, whether driving a Skoda or a Mercedes will always look the same. I can't tell the difference between a soviet politburo and a boardroom of a global corporation. With those 2 things identified for what they are, it seems to me that the real opposite is personal soveriegnty, and generosity of heart there of.

    But there's the rub, if we are constantly terrorised, our generosity of heart flies out the window. That makes us look selfish and ignorant, giving cause for the centralists to do their thing . . . . chicken and egg. We have to be relaxed and loving to make it work, so we have to get the parasitic crooks off our backs.
    Last edited by norman; 10th February 2019 at 13:47.
    .................................................. my first language is TYPO..............................................

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    Default Re: What is socialism? (your opinion, not the dictionary definition)

    Quote Posted by Dennis Leahy (here)
    A reader may not emotionally like my definition of socialism, but if it is wrong, it should be deconstructed using logic, not emotion.
    I think it's neither right nor wrong, but it's legitimate. I see no point in deconstructing your perfectly valid point of view. I would then rather give a similarly benign definition of another -ism, such as Capitalism, as I did here, in order to illustrate that most any -ism can be defined in a way that spells benevolence. Individualism, as another example, doesn't have to be the sole interest in oneself only—but could be defined as the interest in the highest and best good of every individual.

    In that sense, you can use an endless variety of labels that all say "the best and most benign way to organize a society." Therefore it's essential to get to the nuts and bolts when articulating a system to organize society. More important than the label is:

    Quote Posted by christian (here)
    Who decides what, and how?

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    Default Re: What is socialism? (your opinion, not the dictionary definition)

    The only mind set that can understand a positive definition of socialism is the barter system, or any other form of SHARING from a place of wealth. Little pieces of paper desensitizes us to what wealth truly is. Profit and inflation are forms of stealing. In bartering there is no profit other than the agreed upon exchange - if one person views it as profit, the other is still not harmed. Everyone is in possession of wealth: it is the creative potential of all human beings.

    From this place it would be obvious what system can uplift: it is the system that SHARES because it is the right thing to do.

    Consider that in the present system a product is divorced from cost and is instead priced according to what 'the market will bear.' This steals wealth from the system that would otherwise be in circulation for other goods. Add in a thousand such products and the system pulls wealth from the masses and concentrates it in the hands of a few. Only the masses are wealthy, by definition. See how long the captains of industry would be considered wealthy if their little strips of paper and blips on a screen were not coveted by the masses. And the masses would still have their wealth, their creative potential and all the things they have created - because the oligarchs create nothing...and merely 'own' by virtue of our capitulation to the so-called authorities.

    Until we understand the nature of the human being and consciousness we will not understand the dynamics of a true civilization. Money is a formality. It matters not one whit whether it is real and sanctioned currency or whether it is counterfeit. Both have the same affect. That is not true of any product or service. THAT SHOULD BE THE BIGGEST CLUE. And money has distorted our understanding of how a society functions and what its priorities are.

    We are here together on this tiny rock in space. We each have a responsibility to one another. Socialism is that recognition. It is not political, it is life. Real Life. You cannot own anything here expect what you can take with you when you die. And what you can take with you is your true value and your wealth. The rest is of no consequence. That is the understanding of socialism in its truest sense. It is what makes socialism the only way for a true civilization to comport itself. Socialism isn't collectivism. Socialism is derived from the essence of what it is to be human. Our cells work in unison for the good of the body, socialism works in unison for the good of the populace. Each has a role, each partakes equally in the fruits of society.

    Right now, as things stand, there is an organizing body that determines the trajectory of society that the common man has no say in except for a vote every four or five years, which never changes anything. The trajectory of our society is towards control and war. Neither of these are for the betterment of society, nor are they beneficial for the majority of the world's citizens. In such a climate it is almost impossible to understand socialism since it is completely contrary to it. All discussion leads to political contemplation. But politics leads to division. It is like saying air is good to breath but a little carbon monoxide never hurt anyone. The answers are not political; they are not debatable. They are matters of life and death, literally.

    So far we keep choosing death.

    There will come a time when someone is going to point that out in a way that everyone will finally understand it fully. Then we can get on with creating that civilization we all dream about. But that world will not have money, will redefine ownership, and will find a way to accommodate and uplift all in the name of humanity.

    Since we are a long way from there we can be certain that almost, if not all, today's systems and institutions will be left behind and discarded because they will have been found to be hindrances to the goals of the common man.
    Why Not?

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    Default Re: What is socialism? (your opinion, not the dictionary definition)

    Quote Posted by samildamach (here)
    The benchmark of any society is how it treats it's disabled and sick.
    Socialism for me is ownership by the people equally .
    A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they will not know.


    The capitalist thinks of himself as the next jeff bezos and therefore does not want to build a system that would curtail his existence.

    Socialism is making sure that every(and this is for the American context as I am American) citizen of this country has food, water, shelter, education, and healthcare just because they exist and because the declaration of independence recognizes their right to Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, which are further codified in the Bill of Rights.

    If you have the right to life, you have the right to food, water, shelter, and healthcare.

    You can't have the right to breathe but have to pay for the air.

    And what would make us a truly great country is if we take that same attitude and apply it to all humans regardless of location on the planet.

    How about a food and health foreign policy instead of the current one?

    Did you know Aircraft carriers produce their own water at sea? They have a capacity generally of about 500,000 gallons a day(If I recall correctly) and they use about 350, 00 for ship operations at full capacity. That means every American Aircraft carrier, of which there are over a dozen, could effectively be pumping clean fresh water to some place if they so desired.

    We have all the right tools, we just need to use them differently.
    Last edited by Praxis; 10th February 2019 at 17:34.

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    United States Moderator Dennis Leahy's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is socialism? (your opinion, not the dictionary definition)

    Quote Posted by Jayke (here)
    ...

    I find Dennis’s definition of socialism to be too vague, and actually gives more power to the parasites than it does to keep them in check.

    Quote Posted by Dennis Leahy (here)
    That's my answer to the question, 'what is socialism?': Socialism is working toward the group.
    By that definition, Trump, the Republithugs, the Demonrats and all the crony capitalists that infest politics could define themselves as Socialists, because everything they do is for their inner elite group of crony friends.

    Synonyms of group: category, class, classification, grouping, set, lot, batch, bracket, type, sort, kind, variety, family, species, genus, breed, style

    Working solely towards a preferred in-group is the fast track to class wars and mobocracies. Surely a more wholesome definition of socialism would be ‘working towards the health, wealth and happiness of society as a whole’, which doesn’t just cater to the likeminded in-groups, but also finds the common ground and shared values between multiple and diverse groups of people, so that all groups can flourish.
    ...
    Great insights.

    I'm deliberately trying to strip all the modifiers off of "social-ism", to get down to the basics of what it is before being modified. "Socialism for the rich!" (oligarchic socialism? plutocratic socialism?) is a valid modifier, as is "society-wide socialism" a valid modifier. The common ground, the gist, the essence is the underlying direction of flow of energy. You can pound nails in with a hammer; you can pull nails out with a hammer.

    At its raw essence, "energy directed outward, towards the group benefit" is simply the opposite direction of the energy flow in "energy directed inwards, towards the individual benefit." It's the yin and yang of the direction of energy flow toward survival/maintenance/enhancement. I'm saying it is neither good nor bad, but rather BOTH directions of the energy flow are natural, normal, and critical for species survival.

    There are most definitely going to be humans that "improperly" (could be too selfishly or could be too altruistically) direct that energy flow. And all of those modifiers, those bastardizations of "energy directed toward the group benefit"-defined socialism, are worthy explorations - and I realize it is where everyone wants the discussion to hurry up and go. But I'm hoping we can drop the modifiers that are the cause of the emotional baggage, so that when we have that next discussion (political socialism) we can explore the bastardization and hijacking of the simple biological root meaning (again, one of the two directions of energy flow toward survival.) The two directions of energy flow are more like exhale compared to inhale, both normal, natural, and necessary.

    As several have noted, the word "socialism" has been misused, glorified or demonized, spun, rebranded, co-opted - in all cases, modified - and for some, possibly the modifiers just cannot be mentally stripped off. I don't know another word to substitute. The phrase "biological altruism" is close. Hopefully, those that cannot strip the word "socialism" to its essential meaning can at least recognize that socialism is the opposite of individualism, but that BOTH are critical to life for the species.


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    Default Re: What is socialism? (your opinion, not the dictionary definition)

    Quote Posted by Dennis Leahy (here)
    At its raw essence, "energy directed outward, towards the group benefit" is simply the opposite direction of the energy flow in "energy directed inwards, towards the individual benefit." It's the yin and yang of the direction of energy flow toward survival/maintenance/enhancement. I'm saying it is neither good nor bad, but rather BOTH directions of the energy flow are natural, normal, and critical for species survival.

    There are most definitely going to be humans that "improperly" (could be too selfishly or could be too altruistically) direct that energy flow. And all of those modifiers, those bastardizations of "energy directed toward the group benefit"-defined socialism, are worthy explorations - and I realize it is where everyone wants the discussion to hurry up and go. But I'm hoping we can drop the modifiers that are the cause of the emotional baggage, so that when we have that next discussion (political socialism) we can explore the bastardization and hijacking of the simple biological root meaning (again, one of the two directions of energy flow toward survival.) The two directions of energy flow are more like exhale compared to inhale, both normal, natural, and necessary.
    This is actually why I love Ian McGilchrist’s work. The Broccas region (where the inner ego resides) is in the left hemisphere of the brain, hence left hemisphere dominant people tend to be more individualistic or self centre driven. Whereas right hemisphere dominant people tend towards group work and community focus. Capitalism and Socialism, two sides of the same coin brain. Finding the right balance between the two is the only way to make either of them work effectively, without creating what the Hopi call ‘Koyaanisqatsi’, “life out of balance.”


    The dynamic dance between Yin and Yang, essential for the propagation of life.

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    Default Re: What is socialism? (your opinion, not the dictionary definition)

    Socialism
    Socialism (to me) means that government controls and owns corporations with the intent to redistribute profits. They would also implement and collect progressive taxes from individuals with the intent of redistributing that money. The government would have control over the distribution of goods, services, and price. The money from these corporations and individuals would be used for the betterment of society, healthcare, roads, hospitals etc.

    Of course, it would be possible that a socialist government would allow some corporations to be held in private ownership but they would be highly regulated.

    The government would also have control over every aspect of education.

    The problem
    To me, the inherent dangers of socialism (and communism) is that they are an easy sell to people, especially on the lower economic scale. On paper who wouldn't like to take all the money and redistribute it evenly. Using all that money and wealth for the betterment of society sounds wonderful in theory and it is wonderful but only in theory. Moving from theory to reality has never worked.

    In a nutshell who checks to make sure the government is using all that money and power wisely. Who makes sure that the government officials are not keeping that money for themselves.

    The problems as I see it with any form of socialism is that it has never really worked. Venezuela is not an anomaly it is just full bore socialism that once again failed miserably. More than 3 million people have left the country. Wealth was sent all over the world to avoid high progressive taxes and its cities have become the most dangerous in the world. Inflation is at 1,000,000 percent and rising rapidly every day. This is no accident this is just socialism. These examples of what is happening in Venezuela are not fake news put out by the PTB, they are very real and this catastrophe is unfolding in slow motion as you read this.

    Some countries have had hybrid capitalism, capitalism with a heavy dose of socialism. This is more than likely what most people envision when they talk about socialism in today's environment. The unfortunate and misleading term "FREE" is used when talking about socialism in the USA. Free healthcare, free college education, and free or highly subsidized stuff. In actual fact nothing is free, everything is paid for just by somebody else. This tricky and intentionally misused word FREE makes some aspects of socialism look pretty appealing.

    This hybrid does work in some countries (particularly Scandinavia) that don't have much investment in defense and a fairly high tax rate. The result (I am sure people some will take offense) it cuts the top off the economic spectrum and brings the bottom up. Generally resulting in high achieving nations becoming somewhat mediocre. Wealth is not celebrated and high achievement is moderately discouraged.

    What is the answer
    I have always believed that having one all-powerful leader such as a President or Prime Minister is a not only dangerous but a bit bizarre. The US Constitution is a good start, it puts a limit on what a government can do. It is certainly not perfect but it gives the people a bill of rights. When people talk negatively about the US Constitution it is generally because they would rather have a document that gives power not one that takes it away.

    Bottom line is that we should replace Presidents and Prime Ministers with groups of elders. Five or six people that are 65 years of age or older. These people would serve for a set period of time (3-5 years) before a new group would take over. At this age, they would be less likely to have a vested interest in power and money. They would have a great deal more wisdom than a man or woman of 35-45. This group of elders would have the ability to slant their country more towards socialism or capitalism.

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    Default Re: What is socialism? (your opinion, not the dictionary definition)

    Quote Posted by Dennis Leahy (here)
    At its raw essence, "energy directed outward, towards the group benefit" is simply the opposite direction of the energy flow in "energy directed inwards, towards the individual benefit." It's the yin and yang of the direction of energy flow toward survival/maintenance/enhancement. I'm saying it is neither good nor bad, but rather BOTH directions of the energy flow are natural, normal, and critical for species survival.
    What is the group benefit? Is there always a consensus? If not, who has the last word on that?

    Is what is beneficial to the individual really the opposite of what is beneficial to the group? If I get stronger and wealthier, I can help others better, can't I? Economics is not a zero sum game—there are ample opportunities for win-win-situations.

    Most Individualist philosophies that I'm aware of argue that allowing individual self-determination is genuinely in the best interest of the group. A group is strongest when its members are aware and self-responsible, that's why Individualists promote self-ownership and voluntary charity.

    On paper, textbook Socialists and textbook Individualists have the same common goal; the common good, they just disagree on how to achieve it.

    Socialists usually promote more external governance, discernment through political institutions—Individualists usually promote more internal governance, discerning individuals.

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    Default Re: What is socialism? (your opinion, not the dictionary definition)

    Quote Posted by christian (here)
    ...
    Is what is beneficial to the individual really the opposite of what is beneficial to the group?
    ...
    No. It's not the opposite, it is the opposite direction of energy flow. Wind is wind whether it is blowing east or west. Some energy expended toward the individual benefits the group; some energy expended towards the group benefits the individual. It doesn't require human sentience and planning and consciously, deliberately aiming the energy flow. The Emperor penguins are not all murmuring "for the group survival!" as they survive Antarctic winter clustered in a group, where individuals rotate from the perimeter of the cluster to the relative warmth inside the cluster and back out to the perimeter, and continue cycling. Individual survival is instinctual. Group survival is instinctual.

    Inhaling and exhaling are directions of energy flow; both directions viewed together is breathing. Neither direction all by itself will suffice to describe breathing.

    "Social" refers to a group - let's call it "group-ism."

    Individual-ism and group-ism (directions of energy flow) taken together describe how higher animal organisms innately behave toward survival. The energy expended toward the group may not be the intent of the individual creature, but the group receives the benefit anyway.

    I probably should have simultaneously started another thread about "political socialism." Virtually every reply in this thread has been about "political socialism", and not about the survival strategies where individuals also expend some energy toward the group. I am trying to drill down to the basic energy flow direction that higher animals all display and utilize toward group survival. It happens whether people believe in it or not. It isn't consciously-directed energy. It isn't as cyclic as breathing or the ocean tide, but animals do expend some energy that works toward group survival.

    How are we going to be able to discuss "political socialism" intelligently if we solely focus on the one direction of energy flow we like the best, and worse, if we pretend the other direction of energy flow doesn't exist as a natural and normal part of the species survival?
    Last edited by Dennis Leahy; 11th February 2019 at 17:39. Reason: typo fix


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    Default Re: What is socialism? (your opinion, not the dictionary definition)

    Quote Posted by Dennis Leahy (here)
    Quote Posted by christian (here)
    ...
    Is what is beneficial to the individual really the opposite of what is beneficial to the group?
    ...
    Virtually every reply in this thread has been about "political socialism", and not about the survival strategies where individuals also expend some energy toward the group. I am trying to drill down to the basic energy flow direction that higher animals all display and utilize toward group survival. It happens whether people believe in it or not. It isn't consciously-directed energy. It isn't as cyclic as breathing or the ocean tide, but animals do expend some energy that works toward group survival.
    I like what you are emphasizing here. To me "enlightened self interest" is knowing that what is GOOD is equally supportive for every one. My Dad served in Korea (and being in the military is understood by some as "supporting" the group survival) and then was supported by the GI Bill where his education was paid.

    The example above does NOT tease out the TRUTH of how supportive to the group War actually IS???? That is the kind of social question that IMO is supposed to be consciously wrangled by free humans. However, it states that WHEN a person is working to support the group, that "social well being" will also support Her or Him.

    In the 70's there was a state loan program for education of registered nurses. I had a loan from the state and later by remaining in the state to work, over the next few years, the state paid my loan for me. That was GREAT for me. However, I worked at a public hospital where I was needed and that served the group. VERY fair and enlightened.

    Here is a tweet from someone I read https://twitter.com/realAliTweets/st...05860997386240

    Quote Ali

    @realAliTweets
    Follow Follow @realAliTweets
    More
    If you like the list below say thank you to socialism:

    8hr work days
    Military
    Highways
    Public Libraries
    Police
    Fire Dept
    Postal Service
    Farm Subsidies
    Congressional Health Care
    Social Security
    Museums
    Public Schools
    VA Health Care
    Public Parks
    Food Stamps
    Medicare
    G.I. Bill

    11:07 PM - 6 Feb 2019
    In my ideal world, win/win is the governing guide. IF taxes go toward infrastructure and all the other socially responsive programs, they are fair. As soon as I could hear, I heard the words taxes and all about the feeling my parents had about the burdens of taxation. This whole notion of layers and layers between US, OUR INFRASTRUCTURE and NECESSARY PROGRAMS to enable us to have a large organized social worldhas been IMO the down fall of enlightened "policy of the city". There needs to be intimate connections between paying for it all and having the resulting fruit or it all gets siphoned into grift economies.

    SO, if socialism is defined as enlightened self interest, win/win and intimate RESPONSE ABILITY between humans and other humans AND all beings, I subscribe.

    Back to war.... it is never win/win. I personally believe that war is the way that we are constantly bombed or grenaded or canoned or IN SOME WAY thrown regressively backwards. As long as we have war as the central motivation for government, we will never have my ideal world IMO.

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    Canada Avalon Member Ernie Nemeth's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is socialism? (your opinion, not the dictionary definition)

    Any 'ism' is already set in stone, by our way of thinking. It is what allows us to place an 'ism' as suffix to any idea. Social or capital, is what we are being asked to choose between. Frist off, only one is alive, whereas the other is just an accounting system. Herein lies the mistake. We are not comparing terms set on an equal footing, and instead of preferring the one that speaks of life, we are obsessed with the means of accounting.

    We don't want others having an easy life and get all the necessities of life for free while we toil away for the same things - but that happens now too. So we are really not saying anything in that regard. We ask who will do the dirty unwanted jobs, when even now those jobs are only done because some are economically forced to do so.

    The choice as we see posed by this debate is not one type of lifestyle over another, it is the choice between the focus on life and the focus on the exchange rate. These are not compatible and are not alternates to one another. The opposite of socialism, the institution of programs for social order, are what we have in place right now. It is the old order of authority handed down by blood in the ancient philosophy of the 'right to rule'. The blue bloods and their ilk invented this system for their own gain, not ours. We have been so long under their thumb we cannot imagine any other system.

    We all use social rules every day of our lives, and we guide our actions by a set of fundamentals that run counter to the rules of our society, for the most part. We help each other, we care about each other. We do not see color or race or creed during an emergency; everyone is our family in times of need. This is already social without the 'ism' - without the institutions from which bureaucrats like to build their massive edifices that obscure the intent in favor of the rules...and repercussions.

    To ask what socialism is is already one step ahead of itself. The 'ism' places it among other understood concepts. If one were to truly institute social into an 'ism' there would be no bureaucrats needed because the institution would extend to every man, women, and child. It would be a lifestyle choice, as it already is - where capitalism hasn't caused havoc with the natural order, that is...
    Why Not?

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    Default Re: What is socialism? (your opinion, not the dictionary definition)

    Quote Posted by Dennis Leahy (here)
    Quote Posted by christian (here)
    Is what is beneficial to the individual really the opposite of what is beneficial to the group?
    No. It's not the opposite, it is the opposite direction of energy flow. […]

    How are we going to be able to discuss "political socialism" intelligently if we solely focuses on the one direction of energy flow we like the best, and worse, if we pretend the other direction of energy flow doesn't exist as a natural and normal part of the species survival?
    Is what is beneficial to the individual necessarily the opposite direction of energy flow of what is beneficial to the group?

    The energy flow directed towards myself is well able to simulataneously benefit the group. It can be a win-win-situation and go in both directions.

    Directing energy to any aspect of creation can be to direct energy to the whole, depending on the quality of the energy.

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    Default Re: What is socialism? (your opinion, not the dictionary definition)

    Thanks for the interesting posts.

    We are here together on this tiny rock in space. We each have a responsibility to one another. Socialism is that recognition. It is not political, it is life.

    I like this view point (Ernie N) as it is expansive and inclusive; not wholly defined by money and government. I would add my piece by writing that planet earth, this little rock in space, is also part of a greater cosmic community. This planet does not exist in isolation. Widen the lens and the well being of this earth impacts the solar system to which it belongs and it is a ripple effect.

    On earth, we have a responsibility to one another but also to this land, this planet, this earth that makes living even possible. If this is the first tenet of socialism then this, as an "ism", makes sense. But is it?

    I agree that most religions and spiritual traditions in their purest sense call to the qualities of the soul. This is not about dollars and ownership and slavery, but calls to the the need to develop the most sensitive part of our being that recognizes that we are in fact all connected.

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    United States Moderator Dennis Leahy's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is socialism? (your opinion, not the dictionary definition)

    Quote Posted by christian (here)
    Quote Posted by Dennis Leahy (here)
    Quote Posted by christian (here)
    Is what is beneficial to the individual really the opposite of what is beneficial to the group?
    No. It's not the opposite, it is the opposite direction of energy flow. […]

    How are we going to be able to discuss "political socialism" intelligently if we solely focuses on the one direction of energy flow we like the best, and worse, if we pretend the other direction of energy flow doesn't exist as a natural and normal part of the species survival?
    Is what is beneficial to the individual necessarily the opposite direction of energy flow of what is beneficial to the group?

    The energy flow directed towards myself is well able to simulataneously benefit the group. It can be a win-win-situation and go in both directions.

    Directing energy to any aspect of creation can be to direct energy to the whole, depending on the quality of the energy.
    I think we need to be careful, or someone is going to post some ultimate-level philosophical truth like "Only Oneness exists. There are no individuals..." or some such.

    I'm trying to get to the essence of the word socialism, not the phrase with the modifier "political" prepended to it. It is biological, and toward species survival. That's not a statement of emotion or an analysis of motive. It's an observed behavioral phenomenon. It existed in nature before human observation. It is one of the forces of biological life.

    I fully admit that the word 'socialism' is virtually never used without implicitly being used as part of the phrase "political socialism." That's obvious by almost every post in this thread. Political socialism most certainly tries to tap into that biological force of energy flow, and humans (being the idiots we are) anthropomorphize and distort the entire underlying concept.

    Socialism takes nothing away from biological individualism; it complements it. If individuals didn't strive to survive, the social group would not survive. However, just as true: If the social group does not survive, individuals don't survive.


    (to all, not just Christian)
    Maybe the only way to talk about this biological group survival strategy force, (socialism), is to put it in non-human animal terms. Let's talk penguins and jaguars - they exhibit this force. Call it by a different name if the word socialism is impossible to divorce from the human distortions applied to the word. Call it something else more accurate, but until people realize that it is a natural force toward survival by directing some of an individual's energy toward group survival, the whatever new name you come up with will retain the same distortions as the word "socialism."


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    Default Re: What is socialism? (your opinion, not the dictionary definition)

    Quote Posted by Dennis Leahy (here)
    It is biological, and toward species survival. That's not a statement of emotion or an analysis of motive. It's an observed behavioral phenomenon. It existed in nature before human observation. It is one of the forces of biological life.
    Can you provide examples of that? (for example, why do you think Jaguars are socialist)?

    I do not see that as the case except perhaps with Ants/bees ("hive" living).

    If anything I see nature as highly analogous to "capitalism" or "free market"; where the focus is on the self, and the group benefits as a mostly secondary factor, not main focus (again, exceptions being hive colonies).
    There was a 1: 400,000,000,000,000 chance of you being born: what have you done with your miraculous life today?

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    Default Re: What is socialism? (your opinion, not the dictionary definition)

    It's not a philosophical but a very practical truth that service to self and service to others can happen simultaneously. If I build a chair, I can hone my skills, provide something of use for others, exchange the chair for something with another person when the other person values the chair more than his something and I value his something more than my chair (win-win), use the something that I got to purchase something that I desire from someone else according to the same win-win-principle, support them making a living and honing their skills, and so on. If I become more understanding, I may understand myself better and understand others better, I can be a more supportive agent with myself and with others.

    If for you Socialism is all about "interest in group survival," I don't understand why you would call it Socialism, when that concept has been defined so differently already. You take a heavily branded and emotionally charged word and give it a new definition. That's like trying to divert the mightiest stream you could imagine with your bare hands.

    There is a word that is commonly defined as "prioritization of the group," it's Collectivism.

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    Default Re: What is socialism? (your opinion, not the dictionary definition)

    All -isms are abstracts, together with the thousands and millions of pages of other abstracts written on their behalf. Quite like Buddh-ism or Christian-ity are abstracts that do not necessarily represent or encompass teaching of either Buddha or Christ but are in fact, subtle deception and “lite” , social version of association with belief in either doctrine carrying seeds of truth in them, without the need of inspecting their core meaning , so is any other -ism.
    In political terms it seems to be a belief in a system or in an attempt to install such a system.

    If you look at the world and various versions of human society from broader and epochal perspective and ask yourself question, such as “is there any system that would be accepted as form of governance on Earth by all humans” after due consideration taking no time and most probably you’ll be able to answer to yourself “no, there isn’t such a system”.

    Of our very diverse human societies and no matter to what system of governance we had been born to or one imposed upon us, genuine philosophical minority or majority of humans would reject any system of governance or say, political system if they had pure views and true freedom to do so.

    Some obsolete and redundant nations would probably choose a king, priest or a cult leader to follow rather than arguing among themselves about rights and wrongs,
    some modern oriented groups would probably choose an AI to fill the same role.

    But majority of humans I say, would not choose anyone and anything to plan and condition their destiny other than themselves , that is IF they had the freedom of choice.

    If you think “and how does social-ism” fit into this equation, well, it’s not tax and obligation free way of life, of all things and depending how benevolently or less is it applied it can become quite taxing on its followers.

    Since nature of life including that of human intelligence is very diverse on this planet, there’s at least 20-30% of populace who can not or do not wish to participate socially for any possible reason. It may be for a period of their life or a lifetime but some people wish to just live in fact, in their preferred way or life style and aren’t here to follow anyone else than their own minds, they’re not interested in common or uncommon trends or efforts to form groups and gatherings with the rest.

    It may be that only 20-30% of the populace would voluntarily accept any “social
    system” as a matter of experiment and if they had full freedom to decide about it and the rest would live( and roam) freely but I can’t really verify those numbers

    In either case: being a part of self-sustaining yet group dependant system of governance that taxes and obliges its members to number of social duties and protocols should be in my ideal-istic opinion rather voluntary and all such experiments should come with freedom of faultless entry-and-exit.


    That’s my freedom perspective on true human nature and the rest of the -isms too


    Since my worldview above seems to be, at least so far, utterly unrealistic and there’s but couple of remaining islands on the planet to live free...I can’t be really bothered with idea of politics or political opponents

    More time to think on real meaning of Life in the Universe

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    United States Moderator Dennis Leahy's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is socialism? (your opinion, not the dictionary definition)

    Quote Posted by TargeT (here)
    Quote Posted by Dennis Leahy (here)
    It is biological, and toward species survival. That's not a statement of emotion or an analysis of motive. It's an observed behavioral phenomenon. It existed in nature before human observation. It is one of the forces of biological life.
    Can you provide examples of that? (for example, why do you think Jaguars are socialist)?

    I do not see that as the case except perhaps with Ants/bees ("hive" living).

    If anything I see nature as highly analogous to "capitalism" or "free market"; where the focus is on the self, and the group benefits as a mostly secondary factor, not main focus (again, exceptions being hive colonies).
    Well, I did give an example where the socialism is easy to see, the Emperor penguins making it through the Antarctic winter. A pod of Humpback whales cooperatively blowing bubbles underwater to corral krill for the group to eat. Individual coral polyps congregating in colonies. Prairie dog "sentries" whistling danger to the group. A troop (bigger than a family) of baboons protecting each other from a leopard attack.

    When you think of lone predators, like a jaguar, you might only think about the individual expending energy towards itself and seeing any other jaguar as a competitor. It certainly spends most of its time in pursuit of its individual needs. However, a mother jaguar does not eat its own newborn. Why not? It's helpless, easy prey - why not munch it down? Then, why spend her energy over the next months protecting and hunting food for them? If the only natural biological force was individualism, why would a jaguar want additional predators to have to compete with? It wouldn't. There is another natural biological force besides individualism at play.

    Capitalism is human monetary policy and more like a religion than a biological process. Capitalism isn't really a political ideology either, but that's another discussion. It's not only not the opposite of political socialism, it's apples-and-oranges to the natural biological drive toward group survival force of socialism. When we get to that other discussion - the political one - I'll be happy to delve into the monetary policies of capitalism having their 'untainted' roots in natural biological individualism, and the various political ideologies that are called "[_______] Socialism" having their 'untainted' roots in natural biological socialism/group-ism.


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